FILIPE Morais can cope with any ‘extra attention’ his recent exploits may get him, according to Phil Parkinson.
The Wanderers boss is backing his winger to carry on the red-hot form, which has seen him claim seven assists in his last two games, when he turns out against Northampton Town at the Macron this afternoon.
Morais might well be a marked man after two man-of-the-match displays against Fleetwood Town and Gillingham, which have put the Whites back into the driving seat for an automatic promotion spot.
And Parkinson, who knows Morais well from his time at Bradford, says he will thrive on being a marked man.
“When we brought him here, we knew Fil had played in big games for us before at Bradford – cup games, full houses, TV cameras, and on those occasions he’s always shone,” he told The Bolton News. “The more spotlight on him, he’ll embrace it, and that’s key. You need players who stand up and relish that kind of situation.
“He isn’t just playing well, he’s training well. You can see his confidence is high.”
Morais once scored against his former employers Chelsea to help Bradford battle back from 2-0 down at Stamford Bridge to win 4-2 en route to the League Cup final two years ago.
The 31-year-old has been a surprise hit at Wanderers thus far but Parkinson admits his form will not remain a secret for long.
“He’s certainly not a shrinking violet and he’s enjoying playing here,” he said. “He’s a good character. And if he gets talked about a little bit more by the opposition manager, which you’d expect given how he has been playing, then Fil has got the ability to deal with it, no problem.”
Wanderers could welcome Jay Spearing back into the squad ahead of schedule as the midfielder made a successful return to training after a knee injury.
“He has trained all week, so he is pushing for a start,” he said. “Ideally, we’d get a bit more training in his legs but then we could have said the same for Darren Pratley.
“We’ll make a decision but it’s great to have characters like Jay and Darren around training, it lifts everyone.”